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Akonni Biosystems Wins NIH Grant to Develop Low-Cost NA Isolation Device

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Akonni Biosystems said today that it has received a $281,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a fully automated sample prep workstation to isolate nucleic acids from lysis-resistant targets.

Frederick, Md.-based Akonni said that the system will combine its MagVor mechanical cell lysis and TruTip nucleic acid purification technologies in a "single low-cost platform" that will initially be used for general research and eventually for clinical applications.

The platform will be designed primarily to purify nucleic acid from Gram-positive bacteria such as staphylococci, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; streptococci; and mycobacteria, such as tuberculosis.

Akonni also noted that the platform will initially be ideal for purifying nucleic acids from complex clinical matrices including blood and nasopharyngeal specimens and eventually for a range of mold and spore samples.

"This new platform will be compatible with a simple-to-use consumable kit and will be capable of purifying nucleic acid from 12 samples in less than 20 minutes, making it valuable to a broad range of molecular and hospital laboratories, including those operating in global health settings," Christopher Cooney, principal investigator on the project and director of engineering at Akonni Biosystems, said in a statement.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.